In this article:

  1. From the initial research of the job post to the first phone screen;
  1. Tips and tricks, tools and useful templates;
  1. The final steps of the interview process;
  1. Conclusions;
 

From the initial research of the job post to the first phone screen

Hello 👋
In this detailed summary of this recruitment process, we will find out what it means to go through a long series of interviews to get a job in a prestigious listed company with a worldwide presence.
Let's start! 😃
Everything starts when you find the job role you want to apply for while surfing the "job" section that LinkedIn provides us with for free.
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Here begins the first screening by us of the job description in line with our career path and work experience.
In this case, for example, we have an open Account Executive position for the Italian market, based in Amsterdam to work for a company that currently has five thousand to ten thousand employees employed.
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Then we need to focus carefully on the points that gather the main information about the role to which you are going to apply, in order to understand the level of detail and precision that the company's HR decided to share.
In this specific case, we see how, since it is a sales job role, the 12 points used in this description report the daily activities to be performed, the pipeline management activities, the CRM used in the company for managing potential deals and tracking performances, and finally the activities to support acquired customers.
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Following are the minimum requirements needed to be considered by the company's recruiters: years of experience in the relevant industry, hard & soft skills required for the role, ability to prove one's past achievements, and finally, a certified university background.
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Tips and tricks, tools and useful templates

Once you have chosen the position and the company for which you want to apply, it is important to upload your Curriculum Vitae customizing it according to the job description.
So remember to include the right keywords and bring concrete and tangible examples that have characterized your past work experiences.
In my specific case it all started from August 2021 and after customizing my CV for a Client Success Associate position, filling out the form on the company webpage with specific requirements.
Having reached this point, a crucial first question arises that each of us should ask ourselves when applying for one or more job positions: how do I keep track of progress and any follow-ups to be handled?
In my case, it has been several years since I found myself using a tool for managing my notes and projects that I recommend to anyone who intends to put their thoughts in order in an agile and efficient way: NOTION.
Not surprisingly, I developed this template that I report below, which is useful for keeping track of my open employment opportunities, closed ones, the outcomes of each selection path, important dates to keep in mind thanks to the calendar that collects the events I have to attend and finally the link to the web page where I can quickly find the job description.
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Notion template job application tracker
 
Continuing with the description of the journey at the center of this article, the first and second get-to-know-you meetings were conducted 10 days apart in September, and from the outset I knew that the level of attention to detail in this process would be important.
The next steps would be a series of interviews with different managers, interspersed with recurring feedback sessions to give me a chance to come prepared to each meeting.
There is a pattern of questions that characterizes these initial interviews that you, too, will have heard at least once in your career: tell me about yourself, how come you decided to apply for "Job Position" to "Company", what is your current employment situation.
In this regard, I leave below a link to a video that I found really interesting made by Jeff Su, Product Marketing @Google who on his YT channel shares tips and tricks on productivity and career that can be helpful to you in answering questions that at first glance may seem trivial to us but instead require a specific framework to adopt in order not to be verbose or too concise in the answer.
Video preview
Another quick tip you can consider is to use your smartphone during remote interviews to record yourself and listen to yourself once the interview is over to see which points you were most accurate on and which you need to improve on in your exposition.
 

The final step of the interview process

Conversations are generally undertaken at this point with managers who have been around the company the longest and hold specific roles in what will be the target business unit that we will be taking part in.
Very often these resources find themselves managing a vertical team focused on a particular geographic area (EMEA, APAC, MENA, US&Canada).
So here I came after almost two weeks in my case, to the third step in which I found myself in dialogue with a man and a woman of similar seniority but holding two different roles in the company.
From the previous 30 minute meetings that characterised the first steps, we moved on to one-hour sessions where we talked about business-related topics.
Specifically, these were the focal points of our conversation:
  • Proof of Success - Ability to persevere in the face of challenges and to be unwilling to accept less than the highest levels of achievement, examples of top 20% performances - academically or professionally;
  • People Acumen - Ability to engage other people and develop value-added relationships, going above and beyond for the customer and the team; this characteristic includes communication, collaboration and service excellence;
  • Roadmap to Success - Ability to adopt best practices, follow established processes and accept feedback with a continuous improvement mindset;
  • Clock Speed/Intellect - Ability to quickly process and understand information to make intelligent, actionable decisions and connect previously unrelated concepts;
Second question that arises at this point: which framework we should use when answering questions that address the above topics?
We must follow the STAR METHOD which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
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Even in this step, nothing was left to chance.
My answers were carefully listened to, noted down, repeated during the conversation and summarised at the end of the interview before saying goodbye.
Having also successfully passed the third step, I officially entered the preparation period for the fourth and final interview, which would take place almost two weeks after the third interview.
We are talking about a total time dedicated to this process that has now exceeded a good month, and the level of commitment has increased accordingly. Among the tasks for this final step I had to prepare a short multimedia presentation summarising my main interests, studies and hobbies in the first two slides and then move on to the definition of the "WHY BUSINESS?" giving concrete examples in which my future interlocutors could find useful connections to the position I was applying for.
 

Conclusions and final thoughts

For those who made it all the way to the end, it was time to find out the final opinion, which was alas negative because: although I had demonstrated an excellent ability to synthesise after the first few steps, a proven background of work experience that had often seen me use my soft skills to solve complex problems, having demonstrated with examples from the past my propensity to be a team player according to the judgement of those who listened to me for an hour and a half during the final interview, there were several moments in which I did not meet their expectations.
Let's talk about details: the pauses I used at certain moments to answer one of the many questions I was presented with in series before arriving at the Role Play a real simulation in this case of a phone call with an already acquired customer.
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
In this case, my shortcomings in understanding the American English of the manager in question penalised me in the final evaluation, leading the other interlocutors to lean towards a negative final judgement.
At the end of the day, when we are faced with such complex selection processes, whatever the outcome, we are evolving. It is a real gymnasium that keeps us trained to face future encounters, conversation after conversation until we reach the famous "Green light" so dear to actor Matthew McConaughey, who mentions it recurrently in his biography (a must-read).
I really hope that this reading can help some of you struggling with a similar selection process and from this article extrapolate the best for success.
As the British say in such cases: "Break a leg!"
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